Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on The Huntsman: Winter’s War

8 May

Full disclosure: yesterday we saw Civil War in the afternoon and Huntsman in the evening.  It was that kind of day.  This is not a movie that we’re as worried about ~spoiling, though. Some “highlights”:

6. This movie was really, really heterosexual but also quite gay.
Plotwise, textwise, this was very straight.  It was a tale of two tragic heteros who couldn’t be together because another tragic hetero had been thwarted (“thwarted”) by her hetero partner, and one of the first pair of tragic heteros was working in the service of another pair of not-so-tragic heteros (although you never actually see one of said pair).  But… also, Charlize Theron’s acting choices in this movie and its predecessor seem to be composed of screaming random parts of her sentences, whispering breathily into someone’s ear sexily, and eyefucking everyone. Everyone. In the last movie, the latter two happened with mostly her brother and Kristen Stewart, and in this movie that happened with mostly her sister Freya (Emily Blunt). I’m not sure Ravenna has a “non-hypersexual” mode, actually. This also happened with Jessica Chastain once, so there you go. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt basically made Jessica Chastain’s character into the Winter Soldier and also whispered breathily into her ear a bunch of times. There was also a fellow who seemed to be Freya’s second-in-command Huntsman (? this didn’t make a lot of sense anyway) and who leads all the Huntsmen in their betrayal of her at the end because Chris Hemsworth gave a stirring speech about how all the Huntsmen love each other as comrades or something. He had suspiciously gay undertones to everything he did. Also there were a pair of lady dwarves who lived by themselves, just saying.

5. Elsa fights the tentacle monster.
Can you say that has happened in any movie you’ve seen?  Probably not.

4. The constant mentions but suspicious absence of Snow White herself.
Because Kristen Stewart had been fired from this franchise, she was not in this sequel.  (She’s probably better off.)  But they seemed dead set and determined to keep reminding us that she still existed, somewhere off-screen.  This is her kingdom!  Or, the South is.  The North belongs to Emily Blunt.  At one point a dark-haired woman is seen crying with her back to the camera, allegedly Snow White, but mostly we hear about her from her bland husband Sam Claflin in his one scene and from the narrator.  And speaking of the narrator…

3. Constant exposition.
If the first rule of filmmaking is “show, don’t tell,” this movie rips up the rulebook and sets it on fire while dancing gleefully in the flames. The first 10-15 minutes are almost entirely exposition, about events which really should have been shown; for example, we are shown a single shot of Freya’s beloved before cutting to a scene with Freya and Ravenna talking where Ravenna asks, “Is it love?” “Yes,” says Freya. Um, thanks? Then later, Freya has fled to find her own kingdom in the North and created an army of the nearby villages’ children, which the narrator tells us conquered every army they fought. We are shown a single shot of the Huntsmen army standing around after a battle. Thanks. It seems to be following the tradition of having a fairy tale set the scene with exposition, but they didn’t bother to show some parts that the audience definitely needed to see. (The first half of Maleficent also kind of had this problem.)

2. It turned into a romantic comedy halfway through.
So.  At the beginning of the film our tragic heteros Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) fall in love.  Or at least, apparently they do.  The first time we see them talk to each other, they meet in the dark and make out, then “get married” in a hot springs of sex bathing.  Emily Blunt’s porcelain warging owl spies them at this, however, and their tragic love is torn apart.  Sara believes Eric abandoned her; Eric believes Sara is dead.  He goes about his business, namely the events of the first film.  She is either in jail or manipulated into doing horrible things by Freya for seven years. Eric is sent on a mission by the Prince to find the evil mirror, during which he and his dwarf companions are attacked. Sara rescues them, and he is astonished to find her alive, while she believes that he ran away and left her behind. Herein begins the wacky romcom portion of the story. I honestly thought we were going to spend the rest of the movie watching them fall in love on their wacky journey, sort of a Meg Ryan-style misunderstanding plot with goblins and swords thrown in. That doesn’t last long, but it was a hilarious interlude.

1. Most importantly, the actual story made no sense.
How many children has Ravenna killed to stop them from becoming more beautiful than she? How exactly did Freya conquer the entire North?  The North of where?  What are the laws of magic in this world?  Is the magic mirror possessing people?  What did Freya do to Sara?  Why does Sam Claflin get to kiss Kristen Stewart?  Exactly how did the mirror have Ravenna inside it and then birth her out in a swath of liquid gold?  Where was this sanctuary they kept speaking of to hide the mirror in and why didn’t they just destroy it in the first place?  Why didn’t Freya have more problems with Huntsmen falling in love? Why didn’t she use more drastic measures to try to avoid sexual maturity (i.e. castration)? Why didn’t she make herself an ice baby and call it a day? Why did the dwarves fall in love so quickly, since it’s established that male and female dwarves despise each other? Why were none of the women’s hairstyles even? Why did Freya not at least make her army one-gender, in order to avoid heterosexual complications? Etcetera.

–your fangirl heroines.




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